Matrimonial Causes Act


Published: 1948

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 1

CHAPTER 268

THE MATRIMONIAL CAUSES ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Restriction on petitions for divorce during first three

years after marriage.
3. Grounds for petition for divorce.
4. Provision as to making adulterer co-respondent.
5. Duty of Court on presentation of petition for divorce.
6. Dismissal of respondent or co-respondent from

proceedings.
7. Relief to respondent on petition for divorce.
8. Duties of Queen's Proctor.
9. Provisions as to costs where Queen's Proctor intervenes

or shows cause.
Decree nisi for divorce or nullity of marriage.
Re-marriage of divorced persons.
Decree of judicial separation.
Divorce proceedings after grant of judicial separation

or other relief.
Decree for restitution of conjugal rights.
Periodical payments in lieu of attachment.
New grounds for decree of nullity.
Damages.
Proceedings for decree of presumption of death and

dissolution of marriage.
Jurisdiction in case of husband's change of domicile.
Wife's property in case of judicial separation.
Protection of third parties.
Alimony.
Power of Court to order settlement of wife's property.
Power of Court to make orders as to application of settled

property.
25. Custody of children.

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2 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

Section

26. Commencement of proceedings as to maintenance,
settlement of property, &c..

27. Power to vary orders.
28. Power to allow intervention on terms.
29. Evidence.

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 3

MATRIMONIAL CAUSES

1. This Act may be cited as the Matrimonial Causes Short title.
Act.

2. (1) No petition for divorce shall be presented to Restriction on
petitions for the High Court (in this Act referred to as "the Court") unless divorce during

at the date of the presentation of the petition three years first three ,years
have passed since the date of the marriage: after marnage.

Provided that a Judge of the Court may, upon applica-
tion being made to him in accordance with rules of court,
allow a petition to be presented before three years have passed
on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship
suffered by the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the
part of the respondent, but if it appears to the court at the
hearing of the petition, that the petitioner obtained leave
to present the petition by any misrepresentation or conceal-
ment of the nature of the case, the Court may, if it pro-
nounces a decree nisi, do SO subject to the condition that
no application to make the decree absolute shall be made
until after the expiration of three years from the date of the
marriage, or may dismiss the petition, without prejudice to
any petition which may be brought after the expiration of
the said three years upon the same, or substantially the same,
facts as those proved in support of the petition so dismissed.

(2) In determining any application under this section
for leave to present a petition before the expiration of three
years from the date of the marriage, the Judge shall have
regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and
to the question whether there is reasonable probability of
a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of
the said three years.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit
the resenta at ion of a petition based upon matters which have
occurred before the expiration of three years from the date
of the marriage.

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4 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

Grounds for
petition for 3. ( 1 ) A petition for divorce may be presented to the
divorce. Court either by the husband or the wife on the ground that

the respondent-

( a ) has since the celebration of the marriage com-
mitted adultery; or

( 6 ) has deserted the petitioner without cause for
a period of at least three years immediately preceding
the presentation of the petition; or

(c) has since the celebration of the marriage treated
the petitioner with cruelty; or

(d) is incurably of unsound mind and has been con-
tinuously under care and treatment for a period of at
least five years immediately preceding the presentation
of the petition;

Cap. 274.

and by the wife on the ground that her husband has, since
the celebration of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy
or bestiality.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person of unsound
mind shall be deemed to be under care and treatment-

( a ) while he is detained or in charge of a licensee
in pursuance of an adjudication that he is a person of
unsound mind and a proper subject of confinement or
while he is detained in custody by order of the Court
in any mental hospital under the provisions of the Mental
Treatment Act;

( b ) while he is detained in pursuance of an inquisi-
tion, and not otherwise.

Provision as to 4. ( 1 ) On a petition for divorce presented by the hus-
making adulterer
co-respon~ent. band or in the answer of a husband praying for divorce the

petitioner or respondent, as the case may be, shall make the
alleged adulterer a co-respondent unless he is excused by
the Court on special grounds from so doing.

(2) On a petition for divorce presented by the wife the
Court may, if it thinks fit, direct that the person with whom
the husband is alleged to have committed adultery be made
a respondent.

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 5

5 . (1) On a petition for divorce it shall be the duty F::;;L:;:zf~n
of the Court to inquire, so far as it reasonably can, into the petition for
facts alleged and whether there has been any connivance or divorce.
condonation on the part of the petitioner and whether any
collusion exists between the parties and also to inquire into
any countercharge which is made against the petitioner.

(2) If the Court is satisfied on the evidence that-

(i) the case for the petition has been proved; and

(ii) where the ground of the petition is adultery,
the petitioner has not in any manner been
accessory to, or connived at, or condoned the
adultery, or where the ground of the petition
is cruelty the petitioner has not in any man-
ner condoned the cruelty; and

(iii) the petition is not presented or prosecuted in
collusion with the respondent or either of the
respondents;

the Court shall pronounce a decree of divorce, but if the
Court is not satisfied with respect to any of the aforesaid
matters, it shall dismiss the petition:

Provided that the Court shall not be bound to pronounce
a decree of divorce and may dismiss the petition if it finds
that the petitioner has during the marriage been guilty of
adultery or if, in the opinion of the Court, the petitioner
has been guilty-

(a) of unreasonable delay in presenting or pro-
secuting the petition; or

( b ) of cruelty towards the other party to the
marriage;

(c) where the ground of the petition is adultery or
cruelty, of having without reasonable excuse deserted,
or having without reasonable excuse wilfully separated
himself or herself from, the other party before the
adultery or cruelty complained of; or

(4 where the ground of the petition is adultery or
unsoundness of mind or desertion, of such wilful neglect
or misconduct as has conduced to the adultery or
unsoundness of mind or desertion.

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6 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

Dismissal of
respondent or eo- 6. In any case in which, on the petition of a husband
respondent from for divorce, the alleged adulterer is made a co-respondent

or in which. on the ietition of a wife for divorce. the Derson
1 1

with whom the husband is alleged to have committed adultery
is made a respondent, the Court may, after the close of the
evidence on the Dart of the ~etitioner. direct the co-rewondent
or the respondent, as the case may be, to be dismissed from
the proceedings if the Court is of opinion that there is not
sufficient evidence against him or her.

Relief to 7. If in any proceedings for divorce the respondent
respondent on
petition for opposes the relief sought, in the case of proceedings instituted
divorce. by the husband, on the ground of his adultery, cruelty or

desertion, or, in the case of instituted by the
wife, on the ground of her adultery, cruelty or desertion,
the Court may give to the respondent the same relief to which
he or she would have been entitled if he or she had presented
a petition seeking such relief.

Duties of
Queens's Proctor.

8. (1) In the case of any petition for divorce or for
nullity of marriage-

(a) the Court may, if it thinks fit, direct all
necessary papers in the matter to be sent to the Queen's
Proctor, who shall argue before the Court any question
in relation to the matter which the Court deems to be
necessary or expedient to have fully argued, and the
Queen's Proctor shall be entitled to charge the costs of
the proceedings as part of the expenses of his office;

(b) any person may at any time during the pro-
gress of the proceedings or before the decree nisi is made
absolute give information to the Queen's Proctor of any
matter material to the due decision of the case, and the
Queen's Proctor may thereupon take such steps as he
considers necessary or expedient;

(c) if in consequence of any such information or
otherwise the Queen's Proctor suspects that any parties
to the petition are or have been acting in collusion for
the purpose of obtaining a decree contrary to the justice
of the case, he may, after obtaining the leave of the
Court, intervene and retain counsel and subpoena
witnesses to prove the alleged collusion.

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 7

(2) In this section "Queen's Proctor" means the
Attorney-General.

9. (1) Where the Queen's Proctor intervenes or shows P;$z; to
cause against a decree nisi in any proceedings for divorce Queen> sProctor
or for nullity of marriage, the Court may make such order ~O;~~;;,;
as to the payment by other parties to the proceedings of the
costs incurred by him in so doing or as to the payment by
him of any costs incurred by any of the said parties by reason
of his so doing, as may seem just.

(2) So far as the reasonable costs incurred by the
Queen's Proctor in so intervening or showing cause are not
fully satisfied by any order made under this section for the
payment of his costs, he shall be entitled to charge the dif-
ference as part of the expenses of his office, and the Account-
ant General may, if he thinks fit, order that any costs which
under any order made by the Court under this section the
Queen's Proctor pays to any parties shall be deemed to be
part of the expenses of his office.

10. (1) Every decree for a divorce or for nullity of ~ ; ; ~ ~ e ~ ~ ~ ; ; i t y
marriage shall, in the first instance, be a decree nisi not to ,,,iag,.
be made absolute until after the expiration of six months
from the pronouncing thereof, unless the Court by general
or special order from time to time fixes a shorter time.

(2) After the pronouncing of the decree nisi and before
the decree is made absolute, any person may, in the
prescribed manner, show cause why the decree should not
be made absolute by reason of the decree having been
obtained by collusion or by reason of material facts not hav-
ing been brought before the court, and in any such case the
court may make the decree absolute, reverse the decree nisi,
require further inquiry or otherwise deal with the case as
the Court thinks fit.

(3) Where a decree nisi has been obtained whether
before or after the passing of this Act, and no application
for the decree to be made absolute has been made by the
party who obtained the decree, then, at any time after the
expiration of three months from the earliest date on which
that party could have made such an application, the party
against whom the decree nisi has been granted shall be at

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8 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

liberty to apply to the Court and the Court shall, on such
application, have power to make the decree absolute, reverse
the decree nisi, require further inquiry or otherwise deal with
the case as the Court thinks fit.

Re-marriage of
divorced persons.

1 . As soon as any decree for divorce is made
absolute, either of the parties to the marriage may, if there
is no right of appeal against the decree absolute, marry again
as if the prior marriage had been dissolved by death or, if
there is such a right of appeal, may so marry again, if no
appeal is presented against the decree, as soon as the time
for appealing has expired, or, if an appeal is so presented,
as soon as the appeal has been dismissed:

Provided that it shall not be lawful for a man to marry
the sister or half-sister of his divorced wife or of his wife
by whom he has been divorced during the life-time of the
wife, or the divorced wife of his brother or half-brother or
the wife of his brother or half-brother who has divorced his
brother during the lifetime of the brother or half-brother.

Decree of judicial 2 . (1) A petition for judicial separation may be
separation. presented to the Court either by the husband or the wife

on any grounds on which a petition for divorce might have
been presented, or on the ground of failure to comply with
a decree for restitution of conjugal rights or on any ground
on which a decree for divorce a mensa et thoro might have

20 & 21 Vict- c. been pronounced immediately before the commencement of
85.

the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857, and the foregoing pro-
visions of this Act relating to the duty of the Court on the
presentation of a petition for divorce, and the circumstances
in which such a petition shall or may be granted or dismissed,
shall apply in like manner to a petition for judicial separation.

(2) Where the Court in accordance with the said pro-
visions grants a decree of judicial separation, it shall no longer
be obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent.

(3) The Court may, on the application by petition of
the husband or wife against whom a decree for judicial separa-
tion has been made, and on being satisfied that the allega-
tions contained in the petition are true, reverse the decree
at any time after the making thereof, on the ground that
it was obtained in the absence of the person making the

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 9

application, or, if desertion was the ground of the decree,
that there was reasonable cause for the alleged desertion.

(4) The reversal of a decree for judicial separation shall
not affect the rights or remedies which any other person would
have had if the decree had not been reversed in respect of
any debts, contracts or acts of the wife incurred, entered
into or done between the date of the decree and of the rever-
sal thereof.

13. (1) A person shall not be prevented from present- Fj;:;ings after
ing a petition for divorce, or the Court from pronouncing grant of judicial
a decree of divorce, by reason only that the petitioner has ~ ~ ~ ~ : ~ ~ f p ~
at any time been granted a judicial separation or an order cap. 255.
under section 12 1 of the Magistrate's Code of Procedure Act
upon the same or substantially the same facts as those proved
in support of the petition for divorce.

(2) On any such petition for divorce, the Court may
treat the decree of judicial separation or the said order as
sufficient proof of the adultery, desertion, or other ground
on which it was granted, but the Court shall not pronounce
a decree of divorce without receiving evidence from the
petitioner.

(3) For the purposes of any petition for divorce, a period
of desertion immediately preceding the institution of pro-
ceedings for a decree of judicial separation or an order under
the said Act having the effect of such a decree shall, if the
parties have not resumed cohabitation and the decree or order
has been continuously in force since the granting thereof,
be deemed immediately to precede the presentation of the
petition for divorce.

14. A petition for restitution of conjugal rights may Decree for
restitution of

be presented to the Court either by the husband or the wife, conjuga~ rights.
and the Court, on being satisfied that the allegations con-
tained in the petition are true, and that there is no legal
ground why a decree for restitution of conjugal rights should
not be granted, may make the decree accordingly.

15. (1) A decree for restitution of conjugal rights shall F';;2;lin lieu
not be enforced by attachment, but where the application .f attachment.
is by the wife the Court, at the time of making the decree

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10 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

or at any time afterwards, may, in the event of the decree
not being complied with within any time in that behalf limited
by the Court, order the respondent to make to the petitioner
such periodical payments as may be just, and the order may
be enforced in the same manner as an order for alimony
in proceedings for judicial separation.

(2) The Court may, if it thinks fit, order that the hus-
band shall, to the satisfaction of the Court, secure to the
wife the periodical payments, and for that purpose may direct
that it shall be referred to counsel to settle and approve a
proper deed or instrument to be executed by all necessary
parties.

New grounds for 16. (1) In addition to any other grounds on which
decree of nullity. a marriage is by law void or voidable, a marriage shall be

voidable on the ground-
I

(a) that the marriage has not been consummated
owing to the wilful refusal of the respondent to consum-
mate the marriage; or

(b) that either party to the marriage was at the time
of the marriage of unsound mind or subject to recur-
rent fits of insanity or epilepsy; or

(c) that the respondent was at the time of the mar-
riage suffering from veneral disease in a communicable
form; or

(4 that the respondent was at the time'of the mar-
riage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner:

Provided that, in the cases specified in paragraphs (b),
(c) and (4, the Court shall not grant a decree unless it is
satisfied-

(i) that the petitioner was at the time of the mar-
riage ignorant of the facts alleged;

(ii) that proceedings were instituted within a year
from the date of the marriage; and

(iii) that marital intercourse with the consent of the
petitioner has not taken place since the
discovery by the petitioner of the existence of
the grounds for a decree.

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 1 1

(2) Any child born of a marriage avoided pursuant to
paragraphs ( b ) or ( 6 ) of the last foregoing subsection shall
be a legitimate child of the parties thereto notwithstanding
that the marriage is so avoided.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as
validating any marriage which is by law void, but with respect
to which a decree of nullity has not been granted.

17. (1) A husband may, on a petition for divorce or Damages.
for judicial separation or for damages only, claim damages
from any person on the ground of adultery with the wife
of the petitioner.

(2) A claim for damages on the ground of adultery shall,
subject to the provisions of any enactment relating to trial
by jury in the Court, be tried on the same principles and
in the same manner as actions for criminal conversation were
tried immediately before the commencement of the
Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857, and the provisions of this :.& 21 Vict. c.
Act with reference to the. hearing and decision of petitions
shall so far as may be necessary apply to the hearing and
decision of petitions on which damages are claimed.

(3) The Court may direct in what manner the damages
recovered on any such petition are to be paid or applied,
and may direct the whole or any part of the damages to be
settled for the benefit of the children, if any, of the mar-
riage, or as a provision for the maintenance of the wife.

18. (1) Any married person who alleges that Proceedings for
decree of reasonable grounds exist for supposing that the other party presumption of

to the marriage is dead may present a petition to the Court death and
dissolution of

to have it presumed .that the other party is dead and to have ma,;age,
the marriage dissolved, and the Court, if satisfied that such
reasonable grounds exist, may make a decree of presump-
tion of death and of dissolution of the marriage.

(2) In any such proceedings the fact that for a period
of seven years or upwards the other party to the marriage
has been continually absent from the petitioner, and the peti-
tioner has no reason to believe that the other party has been
living within that time, shall be evidence that he or she is
dead until the contrary is proved.

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12 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

(3) Sections 8 to 11 inclusive shall apply to a petition
and a decree under this section as they apply to a petitioner
for divorce and a decree of divorce respectively.

Jurisdiction in
case of husband's

19. Where a wife has been deserted by her husband,
change of or where her husband has been deported from Antigua and
domicile. Barbuda under any law for the time being in force relating

to the deportation of aliens, and the husband was immediately
before the desertion or deportation domiciled in Antigua and
Barbuda, the Court shall have jurisdiction for the purpose
of any proceedings under this Act, notwithstanding that the
husband has changed his domicile since the desertion or
deportation.

Wife's property
in case of

20. (1) In every case of judicial separation-
judicial
separation. (a) the wife shall, as from the date of the decree

and so long as the separation continues, be considered
as a feme sole with respect to any property which she
may acquire or which may devolve upon her, and any
such property may be disposed of by her in all respects
as a feme sole and if she dies intestate shall devolve as
if her husband had been then dead; and

(6) the wife shall, during the separation, be con-
sidered as a feme sole for the purpose of contract and
wrongs and injuries, and of suing and being sued, and
the husband shall not be liable in respect of her con-
tracts or for any wrongful act of omission by her or for
any costs she incurs as plaintiff or defendant:
Provided that-

(i) where on any judicial separation alimony has
been ordered to be paid and has not been duly
paid by the husband, he shall be liable for
necessaries supplied for the use of the wife;

(ii) if the wife returns to cohabitation with her hus-
band, any property to which she is entitled at
the date of her return shall, subject to any
agreement in writing made between herself and
her husband while separate, be her separate
property;

(iii) nothing in this section shall prevent the wife
from joining at any time during the separa-

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 13

tion in the excise of any joint power given to
herself and her husband.

(2) In any case where the decree for judicial separation
is obtained by the wife, any property to which she is entitled
for an estate in remainder or reversion at the date of the
decree, and any property to which she becomes entitled as
executrix, administratrix, or trustee after the date of the
decree, shall be deemed to be property to which this section
applies, and for the purpose aforesaid the death of the testator
or intestate shall be deemed to be the date when the wife
became entitled as executrix or administratrix.

2 1. (1) Where a wife obtains a decree for judicial P,;fdec:;i,",f
separation, the decree shall, so far as may be necessary for
thk protection of any person dealing withathe wife, be Galid
and effectual until discharged, and the discharge or varia-
tion of the decree shall not affect any rights or remedies which
any person would have had, if the decree had not been
discharged or varied, in respect of any debts, contracts or
acts of the wife incurred, entered into or done during the
period between the date of the decree and the discharge or
variation thereof.

(2) Any person who, in reliance on any such decree
as aforesaid, makes any payment to or permits any transfer
or act to be made or done by the wife, shall, notwithstand-
ing the subsequent discharge or variation of the decree, or
the fact that the separation has ceased or has been discon-
tinued, be protected and indemnified in the same way in
all respects as if at the time of the payment, transfer or other
act the decree were valid and still subsisting without varia-
tion in full force and effect, or the separation had not ceased
or been discontinued, as the case may be, unless at that time
that person had notice of the discharge or variation of the
decree or that the separation had ceased or been discontinued.

22. (1) The Court may, if it thinks fit, on any decree Alimony.
for divorce or nullity of marriage, order that the husband
shall, to the satisfaction of the Court, secure to the wife such
gross sum of money or annual sum of money for any term,
not exceeding her life, as having regard to her fortune, if
any, to the ability of her husband and to the conduct of the
parties, the Court may deem to be reasonable, and the Court

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14 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

may for that purpose order that it shall be referred to counsel
to settle and approve a proper deed or instrument, to be
executed by all the necessary parties, and may, if it thinks
fit, suspend the pronouncing of the decree until the deed
or instrument has been duly executed.

(2) In any such case as aforesaid the Court may, if it
thinks fit, by order, either in addition to or instead of an
order under subsection ( I ) , direct the husband to pay to the
wife during the joint lives of the husband and wife such
monthly or weekly sum for her maintenance and support
as the court may think reasonable:

Provided that-

(a) if the husband, after any such order has been
made, becomes from any cause unable to make the
payments, the Court may discharge or modify the order,
or temporarily suspend the order as to the whole or any
part of the money ordered to be paid, and subsequently
revive it wholly or in part as the Court thinks fit; and

( b ) where the Court has made any such order as
is mentioned in this subsection and the Court is satisfied
that the means of the husband have increased, the Court
may, if it thinks fit, increase the amount payable under
the order.

(3) On any petition for divorce or nullity of marriage
the Court shall have the same power to make interim orders
for the payment of money by way of alimony or otherwise
to the wife as the Court has in proceedings for judicial
separation.

(4) Where any decree for restitution of conjugal rights
or judicial separation is made on the application of the wife,
the Court may make such order for alimony as the Court
thinks just.

(5) In all cases where the Court makes an order for
alimony, the Court may direct the alimony to be paid either
to the wife or to a trustee approved by the Court on her
behalf, and may impose such terms or restrictions as the
Court thinks expedient, and may from time to time appoint

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Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 15

a new trustee if for any reason it appears to the Court expe-
dient so to do.

23. (1) If it appears to the Court in any case in which Er;;e;f Court
the Court pronounces a decree for divorce or for judicial settlement of
separation by reason of the adultery, desertion, or cruelty wife's pmperty.
of the wife that the wife is entitled to any property either
in possession or reversion, the Court may, if it thinks fit,
order such settlement as it thinks reasonable to be made of
the property, or any part thereof, for the benefit of the inno-
cent party, and of the children of the marriage or any or
either of them.

Any instrument made under any order of the Court
made under this section shall be valid and effectual, not-
withstanding the existence of coverture at the time of the
execution thereof.

(2) Where the application for restitution of conjugal
rights is by the husband, and it appears to the Court that
the wife is entitled to any property, either in possession or
reversion, or is in receipt of any profits of trade or earnings,
the Court may, if it thinks fit, order a settlement to be made
to the satisfaction of the Court of the property or any part
thereof for the benefit of the petitioner and of the children
of the marriage or either or any of them or may order such
part of the profits of trade or earnings, as the Court thinks
reasonable, to be periodically paid by the respondent to the
petitioner for his own benefit, or to the petitioner or any
other person for the benefit of the children of the marriage,
or either or any of them.

24. The Court may after pronouncing a decree for E",'&,"fOy;z;
divorce or for nullity of marriage enquire into the existence ., to application
of ante-nuptial or post-nuptial settlements made on the par- of settled

property.
ties whose marriage is the subject of the decree, and may
make such orders with reference to the application of the
whole or any part of the property settled either for the benefit
of the children of the marriage or of the parties to the mar-
riage, as the Court thinks fit, and the Court may exercise
the powers conferred by this section notwithstanding that
there are no children of the marriage.

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16 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

Custody of
children. 25. (1) In any proceedings for divorce or nullity of

marriage or judicial separation, the Court may from time
to time, either before or by or after the final decree, make
such provision as appears just with respect to the custody,
maintenance and education of the children, the marriage of
whose parents is the subject of the proceedings, or, if it thinks
fit, direct proper proceedings to be taken for placing the
children under the protection of the Court.

(2) On an application made in that behalf the Court
may, at any time before final decree, in any proceedings
for restitution of conjugal rights, or, if the respondent fails
to comply therewith, after final decree, make from time to
time all such orders and provisions with respect to the
custody, maintenance and education of the children of the
petitioner and respondent as might have been made by
interim orders if proceedings for judicial separation had been
pending between the same parties.

(3) The Court may, if it thinks fit, on any decree of
divorce or nullity of marriage, order the husband, or (in
the case of a petition for divorce by the wife on the ground
of her husband's insanity) order the wife, to secure for the
benefit of the children such gross sum of money or annual
sum of money as the Court may deem reasonable, and the
Court may for that purpose order that it shall be referred
to counsel to settle and approve a proper deed or instru-
ment to be executed by all necessary parties:

Provided that the term for which any sum of money
is secured for the benefit of a child shall not extend beyond
the date when the child will attain twenty-one years of age.

Commencement
of proceedings as

26. (1) When a petition for divorce or nullity of mar-
to maintenance, riage has been presented, proceedings under sections 22, 23
settlement of or 24 or subsection (3) of section 25 may, subject to and in
property, &c.

accordance with the rules of court, be commenced at any
time after the presentation of the petition:

Provided that no order under any of the said sections
or under the said subsection (other than an interim order
for the payment of alimony under section 22) shall be made
unless and until a decree nisi has been pronounced, and no
such order, save in so far as it relates to the preparation,
execution, or approval of a deed or instrument and no set-

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Matrimonial Causes (CAP. 268 17

tlement made in pursuance of any such order shall take effect
unless and until the decree is made absolute.

(2) The said section 22 shall apply in any case where
a petition for divorce or judicial separation is presented by
the wife on the ground of her husband's insanity as if for
the references to the husband there were substituted references
to the wife, and for the references to the wife there were
substituted references to the husband, and in any such case
and in any case where a petition for divorce, nullity, or
judicial separation, is presented by the husband on the ground
of his wife's insanity or mental deficiency, the Court may
order the payments of alimony or maintenance under the
said section to be made to such persons having charge of
the respondent as the Court may direct.

27. The Court may from time to time vary or modify :'+';'.to
any order for the periodical payment of money made under
the provisions of this Act relating to matrimonial causes and
matters either by altering the times of payment or by
increasing or diminishing the amount, or may temporarily
suspend the order as to the whole or any part of the money
ordered to be paid, and subsequently reviye it wholly or in
part, as the Court thinks just.

28. In every case in which any person is charged with Power to allow
intervention on

adultery with any party to a suit or in which the Court may terms.
consider, in the interest of any person not already a party
to the suit, that that person should be made a party to the
suit, the Court may, if it thinks fit, allow that person to
intervene upon such terms, if any, as the Court thinks just.

29. (1) Notwithstanding any rule of law, the evidence Evidence.
of a husband or a wife shall be admissible in any proceedings
to prove that marital intercourse did or did not take place
between them during any period.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this section or any rule
of law, a husband or wife shall not be compellable in any
proceedings to give evidence of the matters aforesaid.

(3) The parties to any proceedings instituted in conse-
quence of adultery and the husbands and wives of the par-
ties shall be competent to give evidence in the proceedings,

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

18 CAP. 268) Matrimonial Causes

but no witness in any such proceedings, whether a party
thereto or not, shall be liable to be asked or be bound to
answer any question tending to show that he or she has been
guilty of adultery unless he or she has already given evidence
in the same proceedings in disproof of the alleged adultery.

(4) In any proceedings for nullity of marriage, evidence
on the question of sexual capacity shall be heard in camera
unless in any case the Judge is satisfied that in the interest
of justice any such evidence ought to be heard in open court.

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